Itinerant Photographers Wagon... mid 19th century.
I recently joined this forum and thought I would introduce myself. My name is D. Geraths and I have been shooting wet plate for a short time. I have for many years been shooting period dry plate, film, etc, specializing in replicating Victorian Era photographic images.
I own Yaquina Photography in Salem, Oregon; a small Victorian Photography Studio complete with period correct sets, backgrounds, props, etc. Lately I have been shooting a lot of Victorian Boudoir.
Wet plate seemed like a logical choice for shooting in the field and for customers at reenactments and living history exhibits so I started shooting that format earlier this year.
Besides working in photography I also own Yaquina Exhibits, a small exhibit design/fabrication business so I thought I would use my research and shop to create a proper carry-all for my wet plate work in the field.
What you see below is my Itinerant Photographers Wagon. With the exception of the wheels, this wagon was entirely designed and built by me, using my research into photography wagons of the mid to late 19th century as a guide. As I am sure many of you know, from the mid to late 1800's there were hundreds of photographers travelling the county, many of them using wagons such as you see here, to pedal their photography services.
Although there are scant few remaining photos of these wagon designs, the few that do exist illustrate one thing, that no two wagons were alike. Some were horse drawn, but many appeared to have been hand drawn, pulled street to street by the roving photographer.
I thought that this was the most historically realistic way for me to peddle my services at venues and so far it has been a great success.
I have already posted this information at the Studio Q forum, but I thought I would share here as well since this forum seems to house more photographers familiar with the reenacting/living history type of venue.
Here is the wagon completely stowed and ready to move. You cannot see it in these shots, but the yoke slides underneath the wagon when it is not being pulled around so as to be less of a bother when the wagon is stationary. As shown the wagon is carrying everything I need to shoot in the field; including two WP cameras (allowing for 4x5, 1/4 plate and 1/6th plate images), tripods, chemicals, plates, portable darkroom and three gallons of water for rinsing.
Another angle of the stowed wagon.
This shot shows the wagon all set up and ready for business. The portable darkroom works very well and gives me more then enough room to work inside. I have a water rinse system that I designed to work in the darkbox that allows me to rinse the developers under running water.
The lettering painted on the darkbox I did entirely by hand with no stencils used. I wanted to make sure that the lettering would have all of the brush marks associated with hand lettering. The box is also fitted with a removable silver bath that slides out of the side of the box, giving me far more room inside to work.
Thanks a lot for taking a look and if you have any questions, please ask.
For those of you out there that shoot at reenactments, what kind of gear do you use?